Mr. Leonard is head-over-heals enamoured of his views on string theory of being the underlying basis to a some greater reality and cannot in anyway be wrong. Einstein felt that way too, but there is a vast difference between Mr. Leonard and Einstein; most of Einstein's work could be for the most part tested in short order. The only detail left was gravitational waves which took instruments 100 years of development before being ready to capture their existence. With string theory the time scale before technology is advanced enough to test could be greater than the life of the universe. And of course if SUSY is not found at the LHC then string theory is so mathematically flexible that you can just claim "not enough energy". Maybe that is what Penrose is pissed at. The math puts forth unproven models as for example extra dimensions. No one sees this as puzzling but there is a huge chasm and string theorists fail to see it. Extra dimensions require faith. No way around it. The same faith one has in believing in a standard religion (I am all for religion). Religion transcends the physical but so do extra dimensions. They assume a fourth or fifth spatial dimension is as real as 3 dimensions without a physical way of seeing, feeling, testing or even imagining it. How is that for faith?
If you're into shitty arguments regarding Black Holes, read on.
My Brief History recounts Stephen Hawking’s improbable journey, from his postwar London boyhood to his years of international acclaim and celebrity. Lavishly illustrated with rarely seen photographs, this concise, witty, and candid account introduces readers to a Hawking rarely glimpsed in previous books: the inquisitive schoolboy whose classmates nicknamed him Einstein; the jokester who once placed a bet with a colleague over the existence of a particular black hole; and the young husband and father struggling to gain a foothold in the world of physics and cosmology.
Writing with characteristic humility and humor, Hawking opens up about the challenges that confronted him following his diagnosis of ALS at age twenty-one. Tracing his development as a thinker, he explains how the prospect of an early death urged him onward through numerous intellectual breakthroughs, and talks about the genesis of his masterpiece A Brief History of Time—one of the iconic books of the twentieth century.
With the passing of the great cosmologist last week, it seemed fitting to read his autobiography as a way of appreciating the man a bit more. It’s a very compact account of Hawking’s life, hitting the high spots without going into great detail. One of the more charming aspects for me was the inclusion of a fair number of personal photographs, many supplied by Hawking himself and his sister.
Numerous tributes to Hawking last week referred to his sense of humour. Unfortunately, that didn’t really come through to me in this volume. I can also appreciate that he wanted to be known for more than his ALS, but I thought that a little more detail about the disease would have been appropriate. It seemed to me that his family, especially his children, got extremely little page-time. I didn’t require a tell-all or anything too detailed, but knowing how the children turned out and what they chose to do with their lives would have been interesting. I also wonder if they worry that they may have a predisposition to getting ALS themselves.
To be fair, each person gets to be the star of their own autobiography. Hawking concentrates on what he obviously deemed the most important part of his life—his research. Many of the details that I’m interested in, he probably decided were not his to tell.
Actually, this is just a fraction of my library book pile, but they are the ones that I'm going to concentrate on for the next week or so.
Three of them have holds on them, so they can't be renewed--Birding Without Borders, Dear Fahrenheit 451, and The Shoe on the Roof. The subject matter of the three couldn't be more different, so it should be an interesting week.
Now I Rise is the second book in The Conqueror's Saga. The first book, And I Darken, is the book for April in my real-life book club. I read that one last year, so I'm going to forge ahead into the second book before our meet up on April 6.
It seems appropriate to read Stephen Hawking's autobiography, My Brief History, to celebrate the great man's life.
And Gap Into Vision : Forbidden Knowledge is the next up in my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project. I'm glad to have finally found a series by Stephen R. Donaldson that I actually kind of like.